Dear friends and members,
I was outraged to learn last month that a handful of U.S. senators were again trying to shred the laws that protect Appalachia's waters -- but I wasn't surprised. They were mostly the same folks who continuously criticize and accuse the Environmental Protection Agency of waging a so-called "war on coal" for simply fulfilling its mandate to protect America's natural resources.
Appalachian Voices and many others mounted an immediate and vigorous citizen backlash, and the senators' plans were fortunately defeated. But it reminds us that many of our "representatives" on Capitol Hill and in our state capitals don't always represent our best interests, and that we need to look out for ourselves.
It is in this spirit that Appalachian Voices is proud to join with SkyTruth, a technology innovator in environmental advocacy, to launch a new tool that helps Appalachians stand up for clean streams and healthy drinking water. The Appalachian Water Watch Alert System enables people to report incidents of water pollution -- such as spills, fish kills and discolored water -- to government agencies and to others in the community who may be affected. Citizens can report online or by dialing a toll-free hotline (1-855-7WATERS), and can do so anonymously if they prefer.
The Alert System will help build a big picture of trouble spots in our region, giving citizens, regulators and companies the hard data to address them. I encourage you to check out AppalachianWaterWatch.org and tell your family, friends and neighbors.
For our waters,
Introducing... Tennessee Tuesdays!
Are you a resident of the great Volunteer state, or do you live away but frequently visit in your daydreams? Each Tuesday, our Tennessee Director will update you on the fight to end mountaintop removal mining and efforts to improve energy-savings policies in the state, and report how Tennessee's federal legislators vote on environmental issues. [ Sign Up to receive alerts for Tennessee Tuesday posts each week and visit the Front Porch Blog for the latest ]
Dominion Power: Living in the Moment While Virginians Pay the Price
AV's Nathan Jenkins, coordinator for our Virginia campaign, tells about his eye-opening experience sitting down at the table with Dominion Virginia Power to discuss the state of the state's electricity generation — and was surprised by some of the answers the utility giant gave about why Virginia's ratepayers keep getting saddled with mounting electricity bills. [ Read about Nathan's adventures at a special stakeholders meeting ]
Despite two court rulings this spring that dealt "major blows" to the coal industry's destructive practice of mountaintop removal coal mining, residents of Central Appalachia continue to pay the price for an unethical energy policy. Most recently, residents of 150 homes in West Virginia's Coal River Valley received a letter explaining that for the next year daily air horn blasts and detonations at the mine above their community will rattle their homes and coat buildings with dust. [ Read why coal can't keep a promise ]
Ever working to hold Big Coal accountable for polluting our waterways, the Appalachian Water Watch team is collaborating with environmental watchdog SkyTruth to launch a new alert system and toll-free hotline that will allow residents in coal-impacted communities to quickly and easily report water pollution spills, track incidents in neighboring communities, and bring offenders to the attention of governing agencies. [ Check out the new alert network at Appalachianwaterwatch.org ]